An Otley man who suffers from multiple sclerosis is supporting a new appeal to raise funds to create a world class Yorkshire Brain Research Centre.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation appeal aims to raise £2 million by 2015, towards a final total of £6m, to create a centre, which will help tackle Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and dementia including Alzheimer's disease.

Matthew Collins, of Otley, began to have MS symptoms in 2008, such as finding it more difficult to walk, but wasn’t diagnosed until 2010.

“Diagnosis didn’t come as much of a surprise, but was unwelcome nonetheless,” he said. “Being diagnosed with MS was a bit of a game changer, having an effect on both those around me and me directly.

“I have been lucky to have had the support of my family throughout, and without them, things would be a lot tougher. It would be fair to say that there have been some really tough days for everyone but thankfully these have been few and far between.

“MS symptoms can be wide ranging and these can and do differ for the individual concerned. Living with MS can also affect those who support the people that live with the condition day in day out.

“The complex nature of a condition like MS means that it is multifaceted in how it affects the individual.

“Research into the condition is essential so that MS is understood better and more effective treatments and therapies are developed.

“The work of the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre is essential in this regard.

“MS affects more people in the UK than you think and life should not end because of a diagnosis. Having MS doesn’t mean you can no longer contribute to society in general.

“I think everyone has something to contribute and a diagnosis of MS doesn’t necessarily mean that should change. To me, the diagnosis isn’t really important. It’s what you do about it that counts.”

Currently, one in six adults suffer from diseases of the brain.

Appeal director Clair Challenor-Chadwick said: “With an ageing population brain conditions will be a ticking time bomb in Yorkshire in the near future.

“To have a centre of excellence for brain research at Leeds means patients do not have to travel out of the county.

“The Centre will conduct research for patient benefit and will help Yorkshire scientists and clinicians find new treatments and drug therapies, as well as conduct translational research, including clinical trials.

“The Yorkshire Brain Research Centre will help attract the very best clinicians and scientists from around the world to train and study at Leeds and grow a strong neurosciences community for the benefit of patients in Yorkshire and beyond.

“The Yorkshire Brain Research Centre will mean we will have better diagnosis, better treatment and better outcomes for patients in Yorkshire.”

To help patients like Matthew, donate online by visiting: or send a cheque made payable to ‘Yorkshire Brain Research Centre’ to the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, Trust Headquarters, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF. Or text 88811 and the word BRAIN to make a £5 donation.